How to give Tableau a go?

They say you don't know what you don't know, so how are you supposed to give Tableau a go?

Good news, you have what it takes. Reading even this far tells me you are curious enough to keep going.

Better news, Tableau has cultivated a community of thousands of curious, helpful people who want to help you grow.

Let's get you started, yeah?


Getting going in only sIx steps

1 Create a Tableau Public account

  • The Tableau Public account is needed to recognize you when you to go to publish work, which we will do very soon. It's kind of a big deal

2 Download Tableau Public

  • Tableau Public is very similar to full fledge Tableau Desktop. With Tableau Public you get to work on your skills and gain familiarity with the tool before paying Tableau a penny.
  • It's important to note that you won't be able to save your work locally with Tableau Public. So, DO NOT do anything with proprietary data on Tableau Public! For that sort of fun you'll want Tableau Desktop.

3 Download a familiar file type that looks fun from Makeover Monday.

  • No need to explore TDEs and TWBXs at the moment. Let’s stick to CSVs and XLSXs for now.

Weekly Data sets

curated for chart creation

4 Connect to the data you have downloaded

Connect to flat files

publish TDEs in TWBXs

5 Build your first viz

Skip the Show Me video 😰

6 Publish your viz to Tableau Public

I hope you realize

how awesome you are right now

Boom 💥

In less than half an hour you have set every thing up you need to develop you Tableau skill.

Continue following along for a few more steps you can take to ensure serious data viz skill development. In case you can't tell, we're all about seriousness here.

Optional 7 Introduce yourself to the #MakeoverMonday community

  • Attach a screenshot of your viz to the tweet. I like to use Snagit for this step.
  • To shorten URLs I use No one wants to look a bunch of gobbledygook.


isn't all bad 😜

Congratulations! You have officially participated in one of the greatest community practice exercise known to Tableau 🙌

Now, getting started with Tableau means more than dragging a pill here or there. You are developing your data visualization skills. Your participating in a community of lifelong learners. You are putting your message out into the world. You are being bold. I dig that 😎


Let's review the goodness

Tableau Public provides you with so many goodies:

  • A fantastic application for free
  • Training videos that are continually updated
  • Diverse data sets

Ikr?!? So helpful 🙏

A post like this wouldn't be complete without a huge shout out to  Andy Kriebel. He's on a mission to create the next generation of great data analysts, and I believe he’s doing a fantastic job. But he couldn’t keep the output what it is without the incredible women working with him. Eva Murray has been helping Andy with MakeoverMonday since the beginning of 2017. And Emma Whyte gets us working out every Wednesday. Breaking a mental sweat is a thing.

 Eva Murray

Eva Murray

 Andy Kriebel

Andy Kriebel

 Emma Whyte

Emma Whyte

These people put in who knows how many hours (they should viz that) into projects that make the Tableau community more tightly knit and better every week 👏👏👏

This team  provides you with:

Why is this important for our skill development?

  • The best way to learn is by doing
  • Feedback is invaluable to data visualization professionals. How can we know if we have done well unless our audience tells us they understand what we've made? 
  • Maintaining motivation is easier with support. Need encouragement? We’ve got you 👍
  • Developing healthy habits is hard without structure
  • Practice makes progress. Tableau Public and the weekly projects make it easy to rinse and repeat with brand new problems every single week.

If all those goodies aren’t enough to get you going, here is what the past six years of working with Tableau have brought my life.

I have spoken at Tableau User Groups (TUGs) in Atlanta, Berkeley and now Melbourne Australia. They’re worldwide and welcoming to users of any type.

Tableau has taken me to their Customer Conferences in Seattle, Austin and Vegas. I had been to none of these cities before their conferences. Anyone who has attended one of these events can tell you it’s a special way to experience the city, even if you have been there before. Tableau has certainly shown me a good time.

At the Vegas Conference in 2015, Tableau rented not just a street, but historic Fremont Street for the Data Night Out party. Locals in Vegas couldn’t even believe it… and they're the gambling type 🎲

I have had the chance to work with progressive companies like Pinterest, in Silicon Valley. This is an area I only imagined living before moving to San Francisco to work with Slalom. I have also been able to assist companies like Mavuno who are fighting to alleviate extreme poverty in Africa.

Now I am Australia teaching people all over the world how to better leverage Tableau to communicate insights visually.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, I am forever thankful for Tableau and our community. Hope to see you getting your hands dirty with data soon.

Always happy to collaborate. Ping me anytime!